Guinea pigs are affordable pets to bring home. But you must remember that bringing home only one Guinea pig won’t do. A Guinea pig needs a companion. So you will need to bring at least two Guinea pigs.
In fact, if you don’t want to buy a new Guinea pig from a pet store like PetSmart for $10 to $40. You can also inquire about adopting Guinea pigs from an animal shelter. There are plenty of orphaned and abandoned Guinea pigs looking for a home.
The cost of buying Guinea pigs is low. But what comes after is buying a hutch, run, food, bedding, grooming equipment, and other initial expenses. After that, you’ll be spending certain on-going costs 1-2 times per month. This includes food, replacing hay and bedding, and medical expenses.
When you factor in all these expenses, you know what a Guinea pig costs exactly. So you can set your budget according to that estimate.
This article talks in detail about the cost of buying a Guinea pig including all these expenses. So pay extra attention if you want to be practical about buying Guinea pigs.
Table of Contents
What Kind of Guinea Pig Should I Get?
There are many different types/breeds of guinea pigs to buy. The most commonly sought-after guinea pig, in pet stores and adoption shelters, is the American breed. The other famously bought pig is the Abyssinian.
You can differentiate between both by their hair growth and color. American guinea pigs have short and trimmed hair. The Abyssinian pigs have long, messy hair in multiple colors and patterns.
The cost of purchasing a new guinea pig also depends on their breed and DNA. However, here’s a quick summary of each guinea pig.
#1. American Guinea Pig
An American guinea pig costs around $10 to $40 in a pet store or breeder. You can buy them at a younger age once they’re ready to adapt. And you will also find them in multiple colors and patterns.
#2. White-Crested Guinea Pig
A White-Crested guinea pig is a selective breed. They share the same physical characteristics as American guinea pigs. But only that they have a white crest on their forehead, hence the name. They are friendly and intelligent by nature. If you play with them and keep them healthy and happy, they are easy to bond with. The cost of buying a White-Crested pig is $10 to $20.
#3. Abyssinian Guinea Pig
Abyssinian pigs are unlike any other guinea pig breeds on the market. They have long and messy hair. The texture of their hair rough and the color is versatile. The cost of buying this breed of guinea pig is the same as the American guinea pig. That is $10 to $40 for a single pig.
#.4 Rex Guinea Pig
Like Abssyinian guinea pigs, Rex pigs have a rough and coarse coat. They do not have long hair. Rather it’s dense and trimmed – not longer than 1 cm. They have a broader head, droopy ears, and curly underbelly hair. They are also a bit expensive to buy – around $30 – $75 per pig.
#5. Himalayan Guinea Pig
The name of this breed of a guinea pig is just as charming as their physical characteristics. Known as the ‘Siamese cat’ of the guinea pig world. Himalayan guinea pigs have a white coat, dark ears, needs, and feet. And white and black gradations of the pig look very handsome. They even have bold eyes that you’ll never get tired of staring into.
The cost of buying a Himalayan guinea pig is between $10 to $40 per pig.
Buying Guinea Pigs In A Pet Store
When you’re buying a Guinea pig in a pet store or an established Guinea breeder. You have to look at the following factors.
First, make sure the pig breeder or pet store has the proper documents proving their practice. Do not feel embarrassed to ask for the shop’s or service’s credentials. Only then must you proceed to buy your pet Guinea pig.
Next, you will have to look for the proper health certificates of the pet. Most likely guinea pigs do not have the exact health certifications as say dogs do. But any ‘proof of health’ will work.
To make sure the Guinea pig you’re about to adopt is born on a and hygienic pig farm. You do not want your Guinea pig to suffer from certain genetic diseases or due to ill-breeding. A Guinea pigs’ health is severely compromised when he or she is forced to reproduce litter after litter.
Taking everything into consideration, the cost of a single Guinea pig in a pet store or from a breeder is between $10 to $50.
Adopting Guinea Pigs
In some adoption centers, you do have to pay an adoption fee of around $25 or so. The reason being that your donation helps the adoption center going. It ensures the animals in the shelter get proper food, clean drinking water, and hygienic living conditions.
When adopting a Guinea pig for the first time, make sure you maintain a calm and stress-free environment for your pet. There are some adoption centers that do a home visit just to make sure your home is safe and pet-friendly for the new family member.
How Much Do Guinea Pigs Cost?
The real expense comes after you’ve bought a guinea pig home. It’s all the supplies you buy for your guinea pig. The initial setup includes bedding, food, grooming equipment, food/water bowls, cage, hutch, etc.
For a cage, the average size for two guinea pigs to stay in is 10.5 to 12 square feet. This should be the minimum size of any cage. If you wish to buy something larger, the better it is for your guinea pigs.
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Creating tunnels, partitions, and creative nooks and corners are also necessary. You can make a homemade cage for your guinea pig if you want. Or go for the more commercial ones that are costlier to buy than making a guinea pig cage by yourself.
The style of such a cage must be enclosed. You do not want your guinea pig escaping or falling off the cage. If you have other pets around, it could be dangerous. Make sure that inside a cage, you have a bedding area, a play area, and litter.
Once you’ve taken care of the initial setting-up costs, the on-going costs are incredibly low. This includes food and bedding. You will require fresh paper and hay as an ongoing cost. For a large bag of hay, the cost is around $2 to $7 per bag.
Dry pellet food, when you buy in stock, is cheaper than smaller quantities. The additional fresh foods you will feed your guinea pig is also minimum. Veggies such as carrots, cabbage, and other items you most likely have at home.
The weekly cost when you tally all this is not more than $5 to $10 per week. If you have more than one guinea pig, which you should since they need companions, it’s not a big expenditure.
Having said that, if you’ve ever wondered whether guinea pigs are the best starter pets for kids. Here’s your moment of truth.
How Much Cage Space do Guinea Pigs Really Need?
Are Guinea Pigs Easy to Take Care Of?
According to PETA, Guinea pigs do not make good “starter pets” around and for children. So if you’re planning on giving your child a Guinea pig to take care of. You should know that they require plenty of care and attention.
Let me break it down for you.
Nothing about taking care of a small animal like a Guinea pig feels like a “practice” test. You need to be just as responsible for guinea pigs are dogs or larger domestic pets. A guinea pig might fall seriously ill or die without proper care.
Even in terms of expense, a guinea pig can cost you more in the initial setup and other important supplies than you think. So it’s better for any new pet parent to realize this now rather than have their pet suffer for it.
Guinea pigs are intelligent and social creatures. They need their privacy just as much as humans do. You must be patient and loving because you have to earn their trust. Yes, you read that correctly.
Guinea pigs do not like to be held or even be babied by humans. Every guinea pig’s personality is different. But the last word is that you cannot force your guinea pig to be cuddly with you. You have to give them their space and let them come to you. Not the other way around.
The next important thing is that guinea pigs poop a lot. This is because they spend most of their day chewing on scattered food pellets and hay. This is not only because they are hungry all the time. But also because they trim their teeth that constantly keeps growing.
So all this food comes out in heaps of waste. And since it’s difficult to potty train a guinea pig, it’s scattered everywhere.
As a pet parent, you have to spot clean at least two times per day. To keep the bedding area cleaner, it’s best if you spot-clean several times a day. It’s important that their play-pen is clean before going to be.
Once you’ve cleaned the poop and other food waste from their home. The next thing is to make sure their bedding, toys, snuggle blankets, ramp covers, etc. are all washed. This is not something you can leave for the end of the week.
Make sure you have a separate bag to wash the items in. This is because hay and fur out of these items is a difficult job. And if you throw the items directly into the washing machine, they won’t wash away completely.
And soon enough, you’ll see that the clothes that you wear have bits of hay and patches on guinea pig fur on them. This makes it easier for you to clean the washing machine after guinea pig laundry is over.
Clipping your guinea pig’s paw nails is extremely important. Just to be on the safe side, doing this at a vet’s clinic is essential. The cost of nail trimming at your average pet clinic is between $10 to $15. You can also get your pig’s ears, teeth, and coat checked while you’re there.
Grooming is a necessary habit for your guinea pig. Schedule an appointment with a vet 1-2 times per month. If you find that your guinea pig is messier and more active during the day, you can increase this to once every 2 weeks.
Guinea pigs require a balanced diet. This includes hay, dry food pellet, and fresh foods. To make sure your guinea pig eats well, this is what you need to keep in mind.
You must feed your guinea pig fresh veggies every day. You can supplement them as treats. You can add them to their dry food pellet to make it even tastier. And if your pig doesn’t mind, you can take them in your lap and feed them bite-sized pieces of veggies every day.
Fruits, on the other hand, should be fed as an occasional treat. Fruits contain natural sugar which may cause stomach problems and weight gain in guinea pigs. Especially when fed every day.
The majority of any guinea pig’s diet should be nutritious and balanced hay. Without additives, seeds, or flavorings. Food pellets and hay should be readily available for your pet pig.
The one thing guinea pigs need the most is vitamin C. Their bodies do not store vitamin C so you must include vitamin C-rich veggies in their diet daily. This includes bell peppers, leafy greens, broccoli. You can even look for vitamin C drops or any guinea pig-specific health supplements.
Vitamin C deficiency, or scurvy, in guinea pigs, can lead to swelling, abnormal bone formation, weak muscles, and joints, and difficulty eating due to tooth decay or thinning.
The average per-ounce cost of guinea pig food is $0.06 – $0.13 / ounce.
5. Medical Expenses
If you want to know the basic cost of taking care of a guinea pig, this is what you should know.
Guinea pigs do not require vaccination. But they do need annual check-ups. Other medical expenses might include getting your guinea pig fixed. You will also need to take your guinea pig for grooming 1-2 times per month.
As mentioned already, guinea pigs are best kept in pairs. So if you have a male and female guinea pig together, you need to get them spayed/neutered once they are of age. The average cost of getting a guinea pig fixed is $50 to $100. Depending upon the pig’s gender and clinic location.
In terms of other common health problems. Here’s what guinea pigs are most likely to suffer. These are the common health problems in guinea pigs. Caused by a number of factors such as improper hygiene, poor diet, no exercise, and unethical care-giving.
● Respiratory Infections
This is one of the most common diseases in guinea pigs. Pneumonia can be asymptomatic or bacterial in a guinea pig. If your guinea pig is healthy, you may not notice any change in his or her behavior or food intake.
The causes of respiratory infections in guinea pigs are many. It can happen due to stress and overcrowding. Overcrowding is when there are too many guinea pigs in a small-sized play-pen. Guinea pigs need plenty of space to move around and even sleep.
Genetic conditions can also cause pneumonia. Especially if the guinea pig is forced to reproduce litter after litter. It can lead to genetic abnormalities, stunted development, and other causative factors.
This can also be bacterial if it spreads from one guinea pig to others. Signs of such a spread are nasal and eye discharge. Contamination of their food and water bowl. If you find that your guinea pig is sneezing or wagging his or her head unusually. It’s best to take them to the vet.
The treatment for pneumonia is antibiotic medications. And in worse cases, hospitalization may also be needed.
● Digestive Diseases
Diarrhea is a common digestive condition in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs, similar to rabbits, have a sensitive digestive tract. If you feed your guinea pig anything that he or she is not supposed to eat. Or if they eat spoiled or expired food, it can lead to digestive distress.
When the good bacteria in a guinea pig’s stomach turns bad, it can cause painful gas and bloat. It stumps the digestion process in the stomach. Cause intestinal worms, toxins, and other such issues in the stomach of guinea pigs.
If your guinea pig is eating less and less over time. Or they look sad or depressed or lethargic. It may be that their digestion has slowed down or that they are in pain.
The vet will prescribe guinea pig-friendly antibiotics to treat diarrhea. You should never purchase OTC antibiotics for your guinea pig. Only a vet knows what’s best for your pet.
Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency in guinea pigs. This is common in guinea pigs because they are unable to store or produce vitamin C by themselves. So proper nutrition rich in vitamin C can prevent this disease.
It’s not only guinea pigs that are unable to do this. But primates, in general, do not produce vitamin C in their intestinal bacterial flora. It curbs the normal development of the body. And leads to other visible symptoms such as skin, joints, and muscle infections.
Lack of vitamin C can lead to swelling, ulcers in the mouth, and in worst cases, hemorrhages. If you see inflammation inside your guinea pig’s mouth, they are often a result of improper diet and care.
It’s best to consult a vet before you take the necessary steps to cure your pet pig.
Any vet will tell you that guinea pigs need 10 to 50mg of vitamin C daily. This you can also give in supplement form. The most common vitamin C supplement for guinea pigs is in the form of drops.
● Skin Problems
This occurs more commonly with guinea pigs that are housed together. If you have two or more guinea pigs in a cage, young guinea pigs are prone to lice, fleas, and contagious skin infections.
Make sure their play-pen is kept clean and tidy. No contaminated feces are lying around the bedding and where they eat or drink. This can lead to serious skin conditions, including ringworms.
Ringworms are a common disease in young guinea pigs. Caused by poor nutrition, unhygienic environment, and overcrowding. Anti-fungal and anti-parasitic medication is the only effective cure for such problems. As prescribed by a professional vet only.
Conclusion – How much do guinea pigs cost!
Picking out a healthy pet pig is very important. Along with their physical characteristics, temperament, and lifestyle habits. Guinea pigs are friendly, intelligent, and loyal pets. But they are more work than they look. You have to apply yourself completely for their care.
Guinea pigs live for around 5-7 years. So they are a long-term commitment for first-time buyers. And since they are social animals. You cannot get them and forget that they need care and attention also. Just like with a dog or a cat, guinea pigs need to be taken care of.
And this includes financial and otherwise. After the initial cost of setup and supplies, taking them to the vet for grooming, a check-up is also important. Making sure they receive fresh food, hay, and food pellets. And cleaning drinking water every day.
One thing is a must that guinea pigs need a large cage. You cannot stuff multiple guinea pigs in a small cage and expect them to live happily ever after. This will give rise to many diseases and behavioral changes.
Before you plan on buying a guinea pig from a breeder, look at an animal shelter. There are many guinea pigs at shelters. You can adopt a pair of guinea pigs at a cheaper cost. Even if you’re adopting an older guinea pig, they are social creatures. With proper care and attention, you’ll be their best bud in no time!
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